Jacopo da Pontormo
Italian, 1494-1557
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Collected by major museums
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., J. Paul Getty Museum

An early exponent of Mannerism, Jacopo da Pontormo broke away from High Renaissance classicism to create a more personal, expressive style. The Florentine painter replaced the order and clarity typical of Renaissance compositions with cluttered, more emotionally charged scenes and ambiguous perspectives. Joseph in Egypt (1515–18) exemplifies the busy compositions, emotional turbulence, and elongated bodies and haunted facial expressions characteristic of Pontormo’s style. Primarily a religious painter, Pontormo also painted portraits and, in 1521, was employed by the Medici family to decorate their villa with mythological imagery. Pontormo was teacher and adopted father to Bronzino and, according to the biographer Vasari, once served as an apprentice to Leonardo da Vinci.

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